Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
4:15 pm: Tea
5:00 pm: Lecture
All life on Earth is based on electron transfer reactions far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Increasingly high-resolution protein structure imagery provides an opportunity to glimpse into the deep past.
In this talk, Paul Falkowski will examine the origins of biologically catalyzed electron transfer reactions, which form the basis of all life on Earth. He will focus on evolution of the structures responsible for these reactions. The structural analyses of extant oxidoreductases — enzymes that catalyze the transfer of electrons — provide clues to how the earliest life forms evolved increasingly intricate bioelectronic devices. Using experimental analyses of the photochemical reactivity of common minerals, he will go on to explore how photobiochemical reactions could have evolved to provide the long-term power supply for life.